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All About Birds
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The Northern Cardinal is an easily-spotted red songbird from the eastern USA and much of Mexico. It has also been introduced to Hawaii. The cardinal was named by early American settlers, for Catholic cardinals who dress in bright red robes. These birds are strongly territorial and have a loud, whistling song. Cardinals live in open woodlands and do not migrate. The scientific name of the Northern Cardinal is Cardinalis cardinalis (genus and specis). Cardinals have a loud, whistle-like call. The cardinal is the official bird of the state of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Anatomy: The Northern Cardinal is 8-9 inches (20.5-23 cm) long and has a wingspread of 10 -12 inches (25-31 cm). It weighs from 1 to 2 ounces (28-57 gm). It has a short, wide, red, cone-shaped bill and a pointed crest of feathers on its head. Males have brilliant red feathers, a tall head crest, a wide, red bill, and a black face. Females and juveniles are gray-olive above and paler below, with some deep red on the crest, wings, and tail, and a bright pink-to-orange bill.

Diet: Cardinals eat seeds (crushing them with a powerful bill), insects, snails, and maple sap.

Nest and Eggs: The Cardinal's nests are bowl-like and made from grass and twigs. Nests are built in bushes. Eggs are whitish with brown and gray marking; females lay 2-5 eggs in each clutch (a set of eggs laid at one time).



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